Singapore-based Meranti Green Steel is cooperating with Australia’s Green Steel of WA to develop a hot-briquetted iron production and export hub in Western Australia, Meranti tells Kallanish. In addition, Meranti is in early discussions aimed at establishing a green steel business in Indonesia, which could also utilise the Australian HBI.

“Like Thailand, Indonesia offers tremendous green steel opportunities. But we also know that we have to take one step at a time. It’s Thailand and Western Australia first, followed by the expansion of our green steel business into Indonesia and potentially other South-East Asian green steel markets,” says Sebastian Langendorf, Meranti Green Steel chief executive officer. 

The Australian project would include pelletising, direct reduction, and briquetting. It would operate as a joint venture and the two companies are working on site selection, pre-engineering and infrastructure preparation.

Western Australia has “ideal conditions for green iron making, including the availability of relevant ore, competitive natural gas, world-class renewable energy conditions for the production of green hydrogen, and required infrastructure,” Langendorf says. 

The plant would ship HBI to Meranti’s green steelworks project in Thailand. It intends to commission an EAF, continuous caster and 2 million tonne/year hot strip mill from late 2027. It also intends to build a DRI plant at the site, but the latest statement says this will be “once green hydrogen conditions are ready”.

Green Steel of WA meanwhile notes that working with Meranti “makes the most of both companies’ agility, unburdened by legacy”. Director Bob Cowan says this “means we can take decisions which accelerate the decarbonisation of the steel industry without having to protect legacy investments and assets.”

The majority of capacity investments in Southeast Asia are blast furnace-converter steelworks, Kallanish notes. Doubts have already been raised as to whether these will be able to operate for more than one cycle, considering growing environmental regulation.